Wireless Mic Competition: Sennheiser Evolution 100 G2 vs. Audio Technica ATW 100 at DVinfo.net

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Old November 21st, 2004, 02:43 AM   #1
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Wireless Mic Competition: Sennheiser Evolution 100 G2 vs. Audio Technica ATW 100

So I thought I had decided on a wireless mic system: the Audio Technica 100 system with the ATW 101 reciever and bodypack transmitter and an Audio Technica 899 lavaliere. This system got fantastic reviews, is built around a metal case, analog dials, a real XLR plug-in port, true diversity with two antennas, and is now priced at an all time low of $675 for the wireless setup and the upgraded lav mic (even lower without the lav).

But then I talked to the owner at Safer Seas in San Rafael California. He said he used the AT wireless system for years and loved it but lately he's begun using the Sennheiser Evolution 100 G2, and as good as the Audio Technica is, the Evolution G2 is even better. The price point on the G2 is the same as the AT, and it includes a free (albeit weak) lavaliere mic. So the guy at Safer Seas all but talked me out of the killer Audio Technica system for the Sennheiser G2. But I'm still not sure.

The issues with the G2, at least in my mind is that it's unclear that the G2 is real diversity. It has only one antenna. Also, it's all digital, so no nice analog dials. And the G2 does not have a real XLR plug at the unit. Instead, it uses a screw in mini-jack style plug that turns into an XLR plug at the end.

So my question: Anybody out there actually used both of these systems and have any opinion about which is better in two areas: (1) signal pickup and (2) overall sound clarity.

Any help?

Douglas
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Old November 21st, 2004, 07:43 AM   #2
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Hi Douglas,

You have the straight scoop. The small EK 100 G2 portable receiver is not diversity. The EM 100 G2 rack-mount receiver is true diversity, but of course it is intended for fixed locations. The small reciever does use a mini-jack out and comes with two cables, one that is mini-jack on the other end and the other cable has an XLR jack.

http://www.sennheiser.com/sennheiser...tion_series100

http://www.audiotechnica.com/guide/wireless/u100.html

Douglas Spotted Eagle, who is THE pre-eminent audio expert here, really likes AT and has commented in a thread a while back that Senn seemed to have a short range, although that would have been an earlier model of the Senn system, not the current G2 100. Among those of us who have the new G2 system, I haven't seen any negative posts so far.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...light=wireless

The G2 ENG kit is popular because it has a second transmitter that plugs into any XLR mic, turning the mic into a wireless. The price premium is only about a $100 over the standard 1 receiver + 1 bodypack transmitter kit -- a lot cheaper than buying two complete kits.

I'm a novice with audio, but I doubt you'd go wrong either way.
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Old November 21st, 2004, 09:45 AM   #3
 
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I've also worked with the newer G2 systems, and still didn't like them. The Washington Convention hall had them, they were so proud; we were there for the official "racking" of the units. Still had a few issues. But to remain fair, they'd not been tweaked, and pretty well all wireless systems require tweaking.
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Old November 21st, 2004, 08:07 PM   #4
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Well I just typed an astronomically long post detailing a bunch of stuff about how much I respect Douglas Spotted Eagle and that you should give him more credit then you do me and then onto the differences in wireless mics as it relates to my own real-world experience... unfortunately my computer said "explorer has encountered and error and must shut down"... and then that TON of crap was lost. Sigh... I guess I'm too long winded anyway.

I've used both sets you asked about but never at distances beyond 50 feet so I can't comment on maximum range and reliability at long ranges. In those shorter ranges (which you'll probably be at most of the time anyway) I found both systems to be 100% reliable.

Previously I was a HUGE endorsement for the AT. You can follow my posts and see that I like AT gear, but you'll ALSO see that in the end I have no allegiance to any company. I may hate one product of a particular line and love another from that SAME line.

In this case I don't think you'd be upset with either choice. It's really a balance of specs and CONVENIENCE. There's a reason I capitalized convenience. More on that in a minute.

As it plays out the AT seems to have more of the professional features that I like to see in a wireless... such as standard ta5f lav connector, true xlr-out, really solid metal construction, and diversity antenna. Also AT states a max transmitter output of 50mW.

Okay now the Sennheiser is metal contruction with digital signal selection and analog level setting. It is NOT diversity and doesn't use true-xlr out, but rather an adapter. The G2 is good for 30mW transmitter output.

With either of these units you'll have the transmitter turned down anyway... so I'd probably consider the transmitter output more or less a wash... with the AT being reliable to a little further out then the Sennheiser.

Now about that convenience thing. When I got to use a G2 I was REALLY surprised at the fun and convenience of using it. The transmitter and receiver are both really small... like not much more then a cell-phone small. So you can mount the receiver right on your camera without much fanfare. The AT on the other hand is pretty big... like nearly 2 pounds big... and NO you won't want to mount that on your camera! With my Lectro sets I normally wear the receiver on a belt pouch and run a 5' XLR to the cam... so you could do that with the AT... but it's even 2-3 times the size of my Lectro receiver... which is twice the size of the Sennheiser. So we're talking a HUGE difference in size of the G2 vs. the AT.

At this point if you don't expect to need ranges beyond 130' I'd say go G2. If you do most of your shooting in the sub 70' range then even more so. With the AT's extra 20mW peak output it may gain you 50' of extra range... but if everybody's honest about their real-world experience I'd say it's RARE to have a wireless system run through a whole gig with NO sizzles or pops... unless you're within 50-70' of the talent anyway.

To address your point about signal pickup directly. I hope the above sums it up. They should be very comparable in that area with the AT edging out the G2. Now about sound quality either unit should do about equal in that regard... your choice of LAV will determine this issue more then the technical differences in either system.

So at THIS POINT and time... My favor between the two systems is 65% for the G2 and 35% for the AT.

If you CONSISTENTLY want reliability beyond a hundred feet then my suggestion is NEITHER... you need to break a grand to even consider putting all your eggs in THAT basket.
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Old November 21st, 2004, 08:26 PM   #5
 
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<<<<<If you CONSISTENTLY want reliability beyond a hundred feet then my suggestion is NEITHER>>>>>>>

Agreed. Of course, this is geographically dependent, too. Here at the office, I can get nearly a half mile out of the AT, just for giggles. In downtown SLC, a hundred feet is not a big deal either. At the Javit's Center in NYC, I barely got 30 feet out of everything we tried except the Comtech. I ended up having to run to B&H down the street to get an adapter, because I didn't have a mini XLR to Hiroshe adaptor. Ended up buying a new mic. I didn't have a good mic with a Hiroshe, and that's what Comtech uses.

I didn't say the G2 was bad, lots of people like them. I just have not had good luck with them either. I've not had good luck with blondes, so I avoid them, too.
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Old November 21st, 2004, 09:16 PM   #6
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Matt,

I feel your pain. When I was writing my initial response to this post, the same thing happened...long answer zapped! Gone! Agree about the size of the G2; your post reminded of the text I wrote that got lost...something to the effect that the G2 bodypack is "the size of a large pager or the smallest of cell phones." I forgot to add that back in when I rewrote. Someday I'll learn to copy and paste from notepad or Word!

I didn't realize the AT was that large and heavy, so as a novice I'm glad that I did go with the little Senn.

DSE,

I feel your pain, too. Personally, I stay away from redheads; nothing but trouble! If you'll leave me a few of the blondes and brunettes, I'll leave you ALL the redheads! ;-)

Just curious: do you think it is primarily the structures / steel, or is it other competing signals, that's the biggest factor limiting the range of wireless so severely in the urban areas?

Douglas,

I'm not sure we've directly answered your Ultimate Question, but I'm guessing Matt and DSE would agree that as long as you're getting good signal, the overall sound quality on either will be good -- probably more dependent on mic and technique than the transmitter / receiver. (Guys, if that ain't so just say!)
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 06:55 AM   #7
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Hey D.Robbins... this video clip is REALLY crappy... but I only bothered to try this on two occasions and I need to find some better footage. This is some junk that I hastily threw together to show a wireless example to somebody on another forum... and I just left it up on my site.

The point of this example is to show a couple things... in the sub-60' range I'm usually good for 95% reliability. I used to claim 100% reliability under 75'... but after enough use I find that it just really depends on what frequencies are working in that area... that you don't know about. If something is at your exact frequency and you turn off your transmitter you'll hear that person's transmitter in your receiver... cool! No not really. If you both attempt to use your systems anyway (not knowing what the problem is) then neither of you will understand why your systems didn't work. Once I was at an event that got news coverage and my wired guy was nowhere to be seen. I hooked him up because there was this all day weiner-dog races thing and I wanted to get him and his dog once they got pulled from backstage. Well I could hear him fine until a local newscrew showed up and they had a stick mic with the plug-on x-mitter... I could watch them screw with that thing for 10 minutes while all I could hear was static and they kept passing it back and forth screwing with it. Obviously they switched it on and it didn't work... finally they ran a wire. I watched all this from a "middle of the crowd" distance where I couldn't tell my guy to shut his transmitter off and I couldn't tell the newscrew that I knew what the problem was. I hate to admit it, but it still makes me laugh 'cause there was only 1 person in that 10 thousand people who knew what was going on... hee-hee.

Oh where was I? Yeah this clip shows what sizzle and pop will sound like when you DO experience it... and you will. Like I said I no longer claim total reliability the way I used to... I normally stay UNDER 60 feet so that made it easy to assume that quality would remain at 300 feet... Just 'cause I occasionally would be in a wide open RURAL space and it would work at 300 feet. But the truth is that guaranteed performance at ranges beyond 100+ feet is rare.

Perhaps I'm wrong about this, but I'd put my wireless sets in the quality range of the G2 and AT... I paid $550 for these sets USED and they retailed for $1200 just a few years ago... and then comparing with my actual experience with the G2 and AT I'd still put 'em in the same category... but since my sets are VHF and non-diversity feel free to tell me they aren't. (The only reason VHF works fairly well with these sets is because it's an ULTRA-narrow band and this set has better rejection of close frequencies then most systems... but that's another debate... which isn't important anyway because after using the AT and G2 I wouldn't get another $550 Lectro system before getting one of those.)

So whatever, here's the clip. I packed my transmitter into my nephew's shoulder pads and used duck-tape to keep it in place (out of gaffer's) and I put a tram in between the chest pads in a fur ball. Anytime he's running you can hear the metal clips of the pads bouncing... but also you'll hear a wireless set under some of the toughest conditions you're likely to encounter. It was TOTALLY raining much of the time and you can hear the rest for yourself. If this was a standard shoot and distances remained "normal" and controlled you can tell the quality would have been pretty high... as is normally the case for me, but judge for yourself... and feel free to bash this clip 'cause this is not my "professional" work... so I won't be insulted if anybody thinks it sucks! (laughing) Here it is:

Football Clip... CLICK HERE
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 07:08 AM   #8
 
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Very fun stuff, Matt! Thanks for sharing. Never heard a mic on a football player before. (I don't watch sports)

I'd never claim 100% reliability on anything, Comtech, Lectrosonic, nada. Simply because there can be mitigating factors always. But under the right conditions...you'd be shocked.

For close work, I love the cheap AT Pro wireless. Less than 200.00, it has no companding and sounds amazing. But it's VHF, 2 selectable frequencies, all plastic and Velcro. But...at distances of up to about 30', I've usually done well with them. Seen them on several Hollywood sets and was surprised to hear an AT rep say that Hollywood buys these by the case, and tosses them as they get broken in scenes.
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 09:11 AM   #9
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I only got to use the G2 once in a large classroom and it was feeding a camera direct while I was doing an eight chanel mix to two other cameras. The producer said, NO PROBLEMS.

On the distance thing. I have run the AT 100 at 100 Yards in suburban Baltimore before it took a hit.

OTOH,

1. Is there a wireless that can survive a Nextel system?
2. How can Nextel be allowed to operate in such a way to cause that sort of disruption?
3. When working on a stationary set, I've become fond of keeping the receiver as close to the transmitter as possible (hanging in a bag from a light stand near teh talent) and running an XLR back to my mixer.

In that price range, I think it does very well. If I had unlimited income, I'd be closing in on an Audio LTd., Lectro or Zaxcom and fighting with myself over which one to change all my wireless mic plugs to.

Actually the little AT paddle lav that comes with the body mic is a pretty darn nice match.

Regards,

TyFord
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 12:43 PM   #10
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Thanks again to everyone's help here on the board. THis BBS rules. While I really would have preferred to go AT, in this case, I think I'm leaning toward the G2.

While we're on the subject, are there any opinions as to which lav to mate to the G2. The lavs that appear to be at the top of my list include:

1. AT 899
2. Sennheiser MKE2
3. Tram TR50
4. Something by Countryman

Thanks again.

Douglas
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 03:39 PM   #11
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The best, most versatile lav you can get is a Countryman B6 and they sound great too.

Right after that I'd put the remaining three almost in the same place. The MKE2 may take a solid second to the Countryman, but it's probably barely better then the other two.

Really the 899 is the value leader of the group... and by that I don't mean that you pay less and get less. I mean it's a reasonably priced lav that compares very well with lavs costing a hundred bucks more. 9 times out of 10 you won't even consider the difference in lavs once you're "in the zone" of quality.

About the only time I consider one lav over another (of my own choices) is whether I want a high-frequency boost or not... depending on where the lav will be mounted.

You couldn't go wrong with the 899... and it's probably the cheapest of the group. Also I wouldn't discount getting a used lav either... keep an eye on the pro shops which carry a lot of used/consignment stuff... Location Sound, Coffey, and Trew Audio are all good sources of used mics from time to time. If you can find a Tram for $100 and it's in good condition then get it and spend your extra money elsewhere...
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 05:46 PM   #12
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And don't forget the new Sony ECM 88.

Not as small as a B6, but with opposed diaphragms that cancel out a lot of cable noise due to clothing rub.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old November 30th, 2004, 10:53 AM   #13
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anyone have a direct link to the g2 to buy?

how much?? where??
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Old March 11th, 2006, 08:20 AM   #14
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Sennheiser G2 lav

So I'm dredging up a very old post here, but i guess that proves that i used the search engine...

I'm confused as to which mics CAN be used with the G2. I was under the impression that the B6 required phantom power to operate. Is there a version that can be powered by a g2 transmitter?

And along those lines, are there any quality lavs that can switch between being wired for a g2 and wired for xlr? Like, using a cable adapter perhaps?

I guess i'm enamored by the size of the b6. Does it hold up acoustically to the b3 or tram? And... what buzzword am i looking for to indicate a mic has compatibility with the g2? is it "microdot"?

thanks,

-Andrew


Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Gettemeier
The best, most versatile lav you can get is a Countryman B6 and they sound great too.

Right after that I'd put the remaining three almost in the same place. The MKE2 may take a solid second to the Countryman, but it's probably barely better then the other two.

Really the 899 is the value leader of the group... and by that I don't mean that you pay less and get less. I mean it's a reasonably priced lav that compares very well with lavs costing a hundred bucks more. 9 times out of 10 you won't even consider the difference in lavs once you're "in the zone" of quality.

About the only time I consider one lav over another (of my own choices) is whether I want a high-frequency boost or not... depending on where the lav will be mounted.

You couldn't go wrong with the 899... and it's probably the cheapest of the group. Also I wouldn't discount getting a used lav either... keep an eye on the pro shops which carry a lot of used/consignment stuff... Location Sound, Coffey, and Trew Audio are all good sources of used mics from time to time. If you can find a Tram for $100 and it's in good condition then get it and spend your extra money elsewhere...
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Old March 11th, 2006, 09:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Dean
So I'm dredging up a very old post here, but i guess that proves that i used the search engine...

I'm confused as to which mics CAN be used with the G2. I was under the impression that the B6 required phantom power to operate. Is there a version that can be powered by a g2 transmitter?

And along those lines, are there any quality lavs that can switch between being wired for a g2 and wired for xlr? Like, using a cable adapter perhaps?

I guess i'm enamored by the size of the b6. Does it hold up acoustically to the b3 or tram? And... what buzzword am i looking for to indicate a mic has compatibility with the g2? is it "microdot"?

thanks,

-Andrew

All condenser mics require some sort of power. The B6 can operate on less than phantom. All of the countryman mics can be ordered with "the link", a set of connectors in the cable. After "the link" the cable goes on to the barrel connector with the XLR in which is the power supply.

You need the power supply to run hard wired to a phantom powered input. If you're running to a wireless, you unplug "the link" and plug the mic directly into the wireless transmitter.

That help?

Ty Ford
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